The bird flu fears in Greece may lead to collapse of the whole industry in that country The poultry industry employs over 15,000 people and produces almost 1.5 billion eggs a year.
Although so far no bird flu strain has been reported in chickens; there have been 19 confirmed cases that were reported in wild swans.
The phobia of the avian influenza or bird flu among consumers has been seen not only in Greece but other countries too. The poultry sales are estimated to have dropped by as much as 80 percent in recent weeks in Greece and are much higher in comparison to other European countries. France that has been affected by bird flu has only seen a 30 percent drop in sales.
The poultry industry in Europe has a turnover of around 20 billion euros a year and the . 25 member states of the European Union produce 11 million tons of poultry meat a year.
Greece's poultry industry has 50 large and mid-sized firms, as well as countless small producers and it slaughters 130 million chickens every year. The current bird flu scare is likely to wipe away many of these farms if the same trend continues.
"Losses are incalculable and we are already in a position where keeping all jobs intact is impossible," the Association of Greek Poultry Industries said yesterday in a statement.
The government has stepped in and offered some help to poultry farmers in the form of state-guaranteed loans totaling 12 million euros. Producers however feel that the grant is too little.
The only way forward is to reassure the public that eating chicken and turkey does not put them at risk of contracting bird flu. The poultry producers had offered free roast chicken on last Wednesday and are planning another event on 12th of March.